Attorney general asks Columbus judge to step aside from case -, GA News Weather & Sports

Attorney General asks Columbus judge to resign from Stocking Strangler case


The so-called Stocking Strangler, a serial killer on death row for decades, has a hearing for a potential new trial in Columbus next month.  

But now, prosecutors are saying they have a problem with the presiding judge.

If you're being selected for a jury, lawyers will ask whether you've read any material about the case that may cause you to feel prejudice or biased, leaning towards one side or the other before you've heard one word of official testimony in the courtroom. If you answer yes, you're disqualified and sent home. The same applies to judges, and Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens said he has reason to believe a Columbus judge who is about to hear a very important case can't preside with impartiality.  

"There's a book that's very critical of the prosecution and it's in the judge's office, and that caused us a concern," said Olens.

It's called The Big Eddy Club and it's written by David Rose, an author who accuses law enforcement and prosecutors from the 1980's of being racist and conspiring to withhold evidence that would prove the innocence of convicted serial killer Carlton Gary.  

He was hours away from execution when the state agreed to hear his case for a new trial to re-examine allegedly conflicting DNA evidence.  

Olens said the book in question was seen by his staff in the hon. Frank Jordan's chambers and the material is grounds for the judge to recuse himself.  

Gary's defense attorney, Jack Martin, is adamantly opposed to the motion, calling it "without basis."  He said Judge Jordan has always made fair rulings in the past and he sees the move as an attempt by the prosecution to delay justice for his client.

Attorney General Olens wanted to make it clear he's not accusing the judge of deliberately being biased, and his motion is not meant as a personal attack. 

"It's just the type of thing where we need to protect the process and we felt it necessary, and the court will decide," said Olens. 

Gary's hearing for a new trial was originally scheduled for Dec. 3rd but depending on the outcome of this motion, it may be postponed.

The controversy centers around an author's claims that Carlton couldn't get a fair trial because the authorities of the time had a conflict of interest. The irony of the argument is that an author is accusing those who handled the case in the past of having a bias, and by reading that author's book, some fear that today's judge will hold a different bias. 

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